Dallas is a city of suburbs and urban nodes with associated sprawl, lack of networked connections, and degraded environment. Dallas’s towers, Convention Center, department stores, Civic Center, and Aquarium are cultural oases. The Total Housing Apartments Design Competition called for an intervention to create urban density and accompanying street life.

We propose linking the existing cultural centers through naturally cultivated greenways. The proposed high-rise tower achieves both density and the benefits of a breathable fabric to form a spongy watershed, naturally alleviating flooding, cultivating soil productio, and restoring the city’s ecology. Underperforming downtown parking lots are turned into rain gardens and gray water retention areas that green up civic spaces, linked as pedestrian, bike, or horse trails weaving throughout the city. A storm water management network syncs with existing DART, and new light rail lines as “bio-streets” enable a diverse planting habitat, act as a carbon sink and intensify the urban landscape experience.

Our tower becomes a city turned on its side. Its hybrid organization of stacked courtyards gets both passive microclimate benefits and the urban vistas demanded by market driven real estate. The ascending courtyards form a series of semi-public areas including gardens, outdoor pools, and commercial spaces. Stacking skip stop corridors at every third floor gives the majority of units cross ventilation. Our building taps cool sub-grade water for geothermal cooling. Solar collectors’ benefits are offset by the heat island effect. Wind is too gentle to produce significant energy. However, capturing breezes and providing shade can greatly increase comfort levels throughout the building and the city.